Monday, August 3, 2020

Speculative Fiction & Contingency: Aubrey Beardsley, Toni Morrison and Edgar Allan Poe engaging in the archives

Cover design for Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales by Aubrey Beardsley (Unpublished)

Cover design for
Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales
by Aubrey Beardsley

A mystery: What would Poe's reactions be to the illustrated edition by Beardsley?

In this case, the illustrations to a particular text are removed from their context as illustrations and seen as stand-alone images, whether published or unpublished (Illustrations to Edgar Allan Poe from Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley. Indianapolis: Privately printed for the Aubrey Beardsley Club, 1925. Rauner Illus B38i). Some authors illustrate their own works, others identify the illustrator and also exercise editorial decisions concerning the illustrations (see variations: Alice's Adventures in Transatlantic Publishing) and other authors have no say in illustrated editions, though editors and publishers do.

A specific voice, placed and displaced in technology.

Cassette of Toni Morrison speaking. July 30, 1986. Reading excerpt from Beloved
Another type of mystery: The label would suggest one could hear Toni Morrison reading Beloved at Dartmouth in 1986. Given that Beloved was published in 1987, one wonders what version she would be reading or from what actual artifact, typescript or manuscript, etc. It is quite possible that this very specific version of Toni Morrison speaking at Dartmouth in 1986 has been unheard except for the original individuals attending the reading. [Dartmouth College, Provost records (DA-7). Montgomery Fellowship Recordings, 1980-1996. Audio cassette recording of lectures by Montgomery Fellows, 1983-1986.] (Note: We do need to create “use copies” from some media, such as magnetic-based recordings).

The works of Edgar Allan Poe (unpublished, incomplete).

A collection of correspondence and 12 volumes in various stages of development (illustrators, forewords, etc. uncertain), that was never published.

Another mystery: How to include in a chronologically earlier “complete works” the unnamed, incomplete, and unfinished last story of Poe that is referred to as The light-house and what can artifacts of unpublished, perhaps unseen, versions of other works tell us? See Rauner manuscript MS 577.

Collaboration and engagement in the spaces of the archives: Toni Morrison engaging with the unnamed fragment by Poe. Poe and Beardsley reading and listening to Beloved. You now reading an edition of Beloved, illustrated by Beardsley with a foreword by Poe?

Navigating archives : Systemic structuring of spaces : Fragments & Lacunas.